BRICK Avon Family,
Fifteen years ago I jumped into my Chevrolet Cavalier and I drove from Colorado to Newark to join the Newark Public Schools with the idea that Every Child Could Learn. A few years later the mission was changed to Every Child WILL Learn, and so I worked even harder to make that statement a reality. I taught my students that “the more you learn, the smarter you become,” and I worked harder than I ever thought possible. Although I received my Supervision and Administration certification back in 1998, I had no desire to become an administrator. The thought of managing (aka squashing) teachers seemed unbearable. After pursuing National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and missing it by 7 points, it finally hit me. I read somewhere that teachers don’t need to be managed, they need to be released. I knew I wanted to help teachers flourish to reach the precious lives that we encounter every day.
For the last five years, I have had the joy of trying to become that kind of leader at Chancellor Avenue School. Ask anyone. I’m firm, but I’m fair. My expectations are extremely high for myself and others. I will never ask you to do more than I am willing to do. But I will ask you to join me in what I’m doing…and what I’m doing takes perseverance.
I had the opportunity to refine my perseverance this year as I had the privilege to walk with my mother through radiation and chemotherapy. I determined that I would not cry in front of my mother, and so I started to run…and boy did I run! I’m not a fast runner, but I won’t stop. I’m up to 7.5 miles three days a week now and I have planned to run a half-marathon in December. Running has taught me a lot about leading.
For example, I’m determined to excel, and I will not stop. This running philosophy is the same that I have in terms of education. Even though the terrain looks treacherous, and we might not feel like we can keep going, or the roadblocks seem to impede our efforts, seeing children reach success is worth the effort. I know we can do this together. It won’t always be easy, and you won’t always feel like doing it, (like when the alarm goes off at 5AM), but I promise the outcome will be incredible. It won’t happen over night, but we will celebrate each milestone. Here at BRICK, we will build responsible, intelligent and creative kids.
Will you join me?
We came into education to make a difference in our world by positively impacting a child’s destiny. This is a totally selfless act. It is not about YOU or about me. It is about what is best for our kids. We cannot do what is comfortable, or do what we have always done. We have to do the unthinkable to see the impossible. Since I taught in the classroom for 9 years before going into administration, teaching is engrained in me. Even now, I will help teach classes. I will seldom be found in my office, for the real life changes happen in the classroom, and I refuse to miss that! I will be standing beside you.
As I close, I have one request and one commitment. Presuppositions. I will presuppose that the decisions you make are intended to build responsible, intelligent and creative kids. I need you to presuppose that whatever I ask you to TRY is in order to build responsible intelligent creative kids. If you have tried an idea that I have laid out, and it doesn’t seem to be working, then rather than murmuring or complaining to others, please come to me with a different approach (call me, text me, email me, or sit down and talk to me) and if I can understand your rationale and believe that it will produce responsible, intelligent, creative kids, we’ll give it a try.
I’m excited for this journey that we are about to take. Lace up your running shoes, and let’s get going!
With you to build responsible intelligent creative kids,